Curricula within aerospace and telecommunications programs can vary, so students interested in satellite engineering should review concentrations and elective offerings before enrolling; students might seek research opportunities when coursework isn't available in a chosen degree program.
Top 10 Aerospace Engineering Schools
The following list includes a number of public and private schools that offer undergraduate and graduate degrees for aspiring satellite engineers.
|College/University||Location||Institution Type||Degrees Offered||In-State Tuition* (2015-2016)|
|Massachusetts Institute of Technology||Cambridge, MA||4-year, Private not-for-profit||Bachelor's, Master's, Doctoral||$46,704 Undergraduate; $46,400 Graduate|
|California Institute of Technology||Pasadena, CA||4-year, Private not-for-profit||Master's, Doctoral, Graduate Certificate||$43,710 Graduate|
|Stanford University||Stanford, CA||4-year, Private not-for-profit||Master's, Doctoral, Graduate Certificate||$45,729 Graduate|
|University of Michigan - Ann Arbor||Ann Arbor, MI||4-year, Public||Bachelor's, Master's, Doctoral||$13,856 Undergraduate; $20,638 Graduate|
|Georgia Institute of Technology||Atlanta, GA||4-year, Public||Bachelor's, Master's, Doctoral||$12,204 Undergraduate; $13,452 Graduate|
|Purdue University - West Lafayette||West Lafayette, IN||4-year, Public||Bachelor's, Master's, Doctoral||$10,002 Undergraduate; $9,208 Graduate|
|University of Illinois - Urbana-Champaign||Champaign, IL||4-year, Public||Bachelor's, Master's, Doctoral||$15,054 Undergraduate; $15,023; Graduate|
|Texas A&M University - College Station||College Station, TX||4-year, Public||Bachelor's, Master's, Doctoral||$10,176 Undergraduate; $5,598 Graduate|
|University of Texas - Austin||Austin, TX||4-year, Public||Bachelor's, Master's, Doctoral||$9,806 Undergraduate; $10,934 Graduate|
|University of Colorado - Boulder||Boulder, CO||4-year, Public||Bachelor's, Master's, Doctoral||$11,091 Undergraduate; $10,530 Graduate|
Source: *National Center for Education Statistics (NCES)
School Selection Criteria
Some schools and affiliated organizations offer research opportunities, which provide students the opportunity to network and make employment contacts. Students interested in satellite engineering programs may want to keep these other considerations in mind:
- Many state boards require that an engineer have a degree from an ABET-accredited program to become licensed.
- Common areas of satellite research include design and operation, propulsion systems and systems development.
- For additional networking and learning opportunities, look for schools that have student affiliations of national organizations, such as the aerospace division of the Society of Automotive Engineers or the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. These groups sponsor student research projects, and some hold annual design competitions.
- Consider a school's facilities and the opportunities they provide for practical experience. Schools with aerospace programs might include wind tunnels, water tunnels or composite materials laboratories locally or at the campus. Telecommunications technology programs might have advanced computer labs, processing labs or clean rooms.
Bachelor's Degrees in Telecommunications Engineering Technology
The engineering portion of these programs is divided between telecommunications and electronics courses that deal with transmissions systems.
Bachelor's Degrees in Aerospace Engineering
The aerospace engineering bachelor's curriculum includes sequences in design and aerodynamics, along with courses in thermodynamics and propulsion.
Graduate Certificates in Satellite Engineering
These certificate programs provide engineering graduates with specialization in the satellite field. The programs typically take two semesters to complete and can include coursework in astrodynamics or navigation systems. Applicants must have a bachelor's degree to enroll in the program.
Master's Degrees in Aerospace Engineering
Many graduate degree programs give students the option of pursuing a thesis or research project or completing additional advanced coursework. Curricula are largely devoted to structural design and propulsion systems. Some programs offer concentration areas relevant to satellite engineering, such as satellite navigation systems, aerospace structures and space systems engineering.
There are many institutions throughout the United States that offer graduate and undergraduate programs in fields relevant for aspiring satellite engineers. Students can evaluate programs in aerospace engineering, satellite engineering and telecommunications technology when deciding on a program.